7.17 – Shitshow

As the sing-along continued, Wolf summoned me and Scorpion into the kitchen.

“Well done, Bluebird,” Wolf said.  “I can’t believe I got the full blown Vertigo.  It was actually fascinating, like its own Perception.”

“I’m sorry,” Scorpion said.  “I underestimated the significance of this RealityFuck phenomenon.”

“It’s Alright,” Wolf said, “but now that all these Realities are together again, we have to maintain the MeTooing with a Common Perception at once.”

“I don’t feel comfortable doing any Perception with that Marijuana MeNotzie here,” Scorpion said.

“I’ve been watching him all night,” I said. “He’s had a lot of chances to be a MeNotzie but hasn’t.  In fact, I think he’s dying to MeToo with us.”

Then we looked back in the living room at him. The Baby was jumping up and down and clapping and had a big smile on his innocent puff-cheek face.

“I’ll admit he does look quite innocent,” Scorpion said.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin, “I trust Bluebird’s assessment.”

“Alright,” Scorpion said.  “The only problem now is that we’re already deep into our own separate Perceptions.”

“There’s got to be something we can do tho,” Wolf said.

“Well,” Scorpion said.  “It’s a risk.  But we could try a having a Shitshow.”

“Of course!” Wolf said.

“What’s a Shitshow?” I asked.

“It’s a fringe theory of Perceptionism,” Wolf said, “suggesting if a Reality is at an extreme magnitude of a given Perception, or in other words Shitfaced, then they will be able to MeToo another Shitfaced Reality even if in a completely different Perception.  It’s unproven tho, and even if it did work, I’m not sure how to account for all these Sober Realities.”

“What if the Sober Realities get Shitfaced on a weak and unpowerful Perception like, say, Caffeine?” Scorpion suggested.

“I’ve still got a lot of Dr. Pepper in my car,” I said.

“Alright,” Wolf said, “we have no choice but to try.”

I left to get the Caffeine Perception, and when I got back Wolf was in the living room directing everything.  He had Emperor Penguin and The Penguins play every Marley song they knew, and Lamb kept everyone singing along.  WildFuckingTurkey was going around with bottles of Alcohol around and making sure everyone was drinking more than they could handle.

“Bluebird,” Wolf came up to me, “make sure the Sobers get fucking wired.”

“Alright,” I said.

Then I started handing out whole Dr. Peppers to each of them.

“I loveDr. Pepper,” The Baby said, “but I’m not allowed to have any too close to bedtime.”

“It’s Alright, The Baby,” I said.  “You can drink as much as you want after a Wedding.”

“Oh, alright!” he said and started happily suckling on his very own two liter Baby bottle.

Then Scorpion came back with The Marijuana Perception.  He was still cautious and trying to sneak the Octobong behind his back.  But the Baby saw it anyway.

“Hey!” he said. “What’s that cool looking Octopus thing?”

Scorpion was startled and was about to crawl right back into The Hole, but Wolf stopped him before he could.

“It’s alright,” he said, “just show him what it is.”

Then Scorpion brought it over, and The Baby started playing with it like it was new toy.

“What’s it for?” The Baby asked.

“You smoke Marijuana Perception out of it,” Scorpion said.

“I wanna try!”

“You do?”

“Yeah!”

The Scorpion sat next to The Baby and showed him which tentacle was which so you could smoke out of it.  The Baby took a hit and coughed and a minute later was giggling uncontrollably.

“I like it!” he said.

After that everyone in the room was inspired to try every Perception available at once.  I even took a couple more hits off the Octobong, and Emperor Penguin put some Dr. Pepper in his scotch.  Soon we were all Shitfaced, and the MeToos were flying around the room, and everyone got a chance to sit on The Throne.  Then it’s hard to remember what happened next.  I remember at some point looking up and Wolf was in the middle of the whole Shitshow smiling with his arm around Lamb.

And I remember sometime later waking up on the hard living room floor, and my head was right next to Emperor Penguin’s.

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” he said.

“What?” I said.

“You came all the way from there?”

“Yeah.”

“By yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s Alright.”

“Thanks.”

 

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“Yeah?”

“I think I’m gonna keep the band together.”

“Cool.”

“Hey… Wherethe…

“Yeah?”

“I’m shitfaced, man.”

“MeToo,” I said, and then I passed out.

7.16 – The Concert to Save Wolf

Emperor Penguin &The Penguins were in the kitchen when I got back in, but they were busy and didn’t seem to notice me.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Emperor Penguin told them.  “I mean, a Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania) community center basement? Our gigs just keep getting shittier and shittier.”

The Penguins nodded.

“We’re just going backwards,” he said, “and we’re not getting money or recognition.”

“But aren’t we in it for the MeToos?” the band said.

“Even those are fewer and fewer.”

“What do we do tho? Give up?”

“It may be time to face the facts.  We’ve gone as far as we can go with this band. A Reality I know says he can get me a fulltime job in an office.  I think I’m going to take it.”

“I don’t know, man. That’s sounds pretty Adult.”

“Maybe we should’ve just tried to be Adults all along.”

“What about Reality Travel?  I heard if you quit The Gods will make you depressed.”

“I’m not sure I even believe in Reality Travel or The Gods anymore.  Maybe it’s just something we made up to feel more important than we are.”

“So we’re breaking up?”

“I think so.”

Just then WildFuckingTurkey came in.

“Hey,” he said, “Lamb just sent me.  We need your fucking help.”

“We’re in the middle of something,” Emperor Penguin said.

“Okay, but Wolf’s apparently got some fucking Traveler Vertigo thing, and he’s pretty much passed out cold, and doesn’t even know who he is anymore, and she doesn’t know what to fucking do.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never even heard of ‘Traveler Vertigo.’”

“But you’re a fucking Reality Traveler, right?”

“Not anymore.  Ask that Colorado kid, he’s actually Trained believe it or not.”

Then I came forward.

“You’re a fucking…?” WildFuckingTurkey asked me.

“Yeah,” I rasped.

“What happened to your fucking voice?  You sound like my hangover tomorrow.”

“Pfft,” Emperor Penguin said, “he blew it out over-singing that Springsteen.”

Their comments knocked me back for a moment, but I was able to easily look down and see My True Traveler Name and it helped me keep going.

“Enough!” I rasped.  “I’m the Bluebird, and I have The Dead Voice just cuz I’m too passionate about car singing.  But none of this matters right now, cuz we all have to work together to save Wolf.”

Then they knew I was for real and listened up as I explained how Vertigo worked and how we needed all the AfterParty Factions to come together to end The Schism and MeToo.

“How are we going to do that?” Emperor Penguin said. “We can’t even find half the party.”

“We can lure them in with music,” I rasped.

“We’ve been playing music.  No one’s into it.”

“We’ve only been playing for ourselves tho.  We need to play one that MeToos everyone.”

“There’s no song that can MeToo everyone.  That’s a myth.”

“Bob Marley’s ‘One Love.’  I know for a fact it was written by The Gods themselves, and it’s got as good-a-chance as any.”

“That is a good song,” The Penguins said.

“Yeah it fucking is,” WildFuckingTurkey said. “Getting together and feelin Alright is actually all I ever want.”

Everyone looked over at Emperor Penguin and waited for his ‘pfft.’

“It’s probably not going to work,” he said, “but it is a good song.”

“I can’t sing,” I told him, “so you have to lead the sing-along.”

“Alright,” he shrugged.  “Let’s play some Marley.”

Then we gathered everyone we could find and led them back into the living room.  Everyone in there looked completely bored or Vertigo’d.  Wolf was on the couch with his eyes shut and his mouth hanging open, while Lamb wiped off his drool with a napkin.

“Hey!” Lamb’s Youngest Sister looked up. “Are you going to play again?”

Emperor Penguin nodded and Lamb’s Younger Sister wheeled the Throne over to him.

“Wait a second,” Wild Turkey said.  “This is Wolf&Lamb’s fucking Wedding night, they should be sitting in The Fucking Throne, right?”

We all agreed and then worked together to lift Wolf’s Vertigo’d body up from the couch and stuff him in the seat, while Lamb sat on his lap.  Then Emperor Penguin stood in front of us in a RockStar power stance.

“Alright,” he said, “it’s time for the Concert to Save Wolf.  Anyone here dig Bob Marley?”

“Yes!” everyone said.

“Alright then,” he said.  “Let’s do a little number called “One Love.”

Then he nodded to the band and The Penguins came in and they knew that one cold,too.  Then Emperor Penguin came in and started nailing it with his high and powerful voice, and it made everyone sit up in their seats and start clapping to the beat.

“Alright, everyone,” he said when he got to the next chorus.  “You all know the words.  Sing along.”

One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright,” we all sang.

Many Realities in the room could not sing. WildFuckingTurkey continued to gobble off key, and The Baby sang nonsense goo-goo-ga-gas instead of the right lyrics, and I could only sing in a whisper.  But somehow it all sounded good and much more high and powerful than any one Reality could sing on their own.  It felt so good we just kept singing the words over and over.

One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright.”

 And then we saw a Reality peaking their head up from The Hole.  They started creeping forward to get a closer look, and we waved them towards us.  Then other heads peaked out and followed.  And when they got into the living room they couldn’t help but to sing along, too. Finally Scorpion came out and had a suspicious look on his face and pointed his stinger at the Marijuana MeNotzie, but the song soon calmed him, and even he ended up getting swept up in the sing along.  I looked over at Wolf, and his eyes were now open and alert, and his body was upright, and he was howling the loudest out of all of us.

 One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright.”

7.15 – Drunk Angel

It seemed like the whole AfterParty was a Lost Cause, and I just wanted to go find Wings and hit the Road straight back to Ohio.  I went thru the first door I saw, which was the screen door in the kitchen, and I slammed it shut behind me.  But then I was trapped inside the backyard, and there was a high fence around me and no way to get out.

“Dammit,” I said with my scratchy voice.

I wasn’t even in Alone Reality cuz there was someone else out there.  They were trying to hide behind a tree, but you could see their dress waving in the wind.

“Bluebird? is that you?” she said, and when she turned around you could see it was The Goddess of Faith, and she was holding a big bottle of Alcohol Perception.

“Faithfully, what are you doing here?”

Then she stumbled over and tripped and fell on me. Her touch felt like It’s Kinda Weird, Babe.

“Are you drunk?” I asked her.

“Yass, Bluebebby,” she said.  “I swiped this when nobody was looking, and I’ve never been drunk before, and I love it.”

“Gods drink?”

“Yeah, when they wanna be your girlfriend, your human girlfriend, or probably your human wedding wife, and wanna go to fun drunk parties with you, but I can’t, and hate it, and this whiskey is the only thing that can lube up the machine of my broken-hearted sun.”

“Trust me, you don’t really wanna be in there. All that happens in there is you try to save everyone, but you just get your ass kicked, and your Traveler Allies are doomed to get the Vertigo.”

“I know, Bubbabird.  I’ve been watching.”

“If I had only just Rocked Out a little less on The Great Trip.”

“But you hafta Rock Out, you’re the Rockblockbok.”

“But my voice is too important.  It’s the only way I can MeToo anyone ever.”

“But you know songies. Maybe you can still find one everyone can MeToo, even if you can’t sing it.”

“Who’d sing it tho? That MeNotzie Emperor Penguin?”

“I knowww.  I couldn’t believe he’s actually a Reality Traveler, so I looked up his Angel Corps File.”

“And you found out he’s a fraud, didn’t you?  I knew it!”

“No he’s a Real Real, but he’s never actually Traveled outside PhillyDFeely cuz he’s too afraid.”

“So that’s why he hates Springsteen.  He’s never actually hit the Thunder Road, and he’s jealous.”

“Yes, he’s really just a fly-less bird.”

“Yes!”

“No, Blueblueblue, we have to MeToo him somehow. That’s what ReAlrighty Travelers do.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“We hafta make him and Wolf and everyone else in there feel Allllright, Baby!”

“But how?”

“I know how exactly.  I’m gonna just go in there in there with you, and be a Reality Traveler, too, and then we’ll gonna get them all to play “One Love,” which is a song I actually made and gave to Bo-baby Marley, and then we’ll MeToo everybody with a sing-along.”

“Wait, wait, you can’t just go in there.  One false move and we could both be Eliminated, remember?”

“Blah, blah, blahbird, I don’t care anymore.  I hafta help you.  Too in True Love.”

Then she started kissing me all over, and she even slipped her hand below my waist and tried to touch things in there, but I hadta brush it away.

“We can’t do that either now,” I said.  “What if Wolf just called in his Guardian Angel, cuz I didn’t come thru, and they’ll catch us red-down-the-pants-handed.”

“Oh this is so stupid and dumbbb!”

Then I hadta put my arms around her tight.

“I know, Goddess,” I said, “but It’s Alright, and the Perceptionist Professor told me how we can Love together in total secret later.”

Then I explained his idea about The Past World.

“Alright, we hafta do is make it thru tonight,” I said.

“Aww, Bluebird, thats gonna work perfect, I Love your Alright so much.”

Then we just held each other close and wanted to stay like that the rest of the night, but we knew we couldn’t.

“Alright, I’ve gotta go back in now,” I hadta say.

“Yes, Baby, do you know what you’re gonna do?”

“I’ll try to do the sing-along, even tho it might fail.”

“Yay! I’ll give you some It’s Alright, Baby so you’re so strange-strong.”

Then she gave me a kiss on the lips, and it was great and not weird anymore, and it made me feel like was a Bob Marley song myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I’m ready to make everyone get together and feel Alright.”

And then I started to head back in.

“Wait,” she said and stopped me.

Then she went to grab something in the backyard and came back with my tweed Professor-looking Wedding Uniform jacket.

“I love this and you need to wear it again,” she said and gave it to me.

I put it on, and noticed she’d found my Bluebird sticker and stuck it right on the front of the chest.

“I didn’t want you to forget who you are,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said.

“And don’t forget that I Love you more than anyone Loves anyone anywhere.”

“And I Love you that much,too.”

And then we kissed one more time before I went back in.

7.14 – The Bluebird Show

“Alright, everyone,” I stood up and said.  “I’m going to sing now!”

But no one was paying attention.  Wolf was in an almost total Vertigo state while Lamb tended to him.  The Baby was playing peek-a-boo with Lamb’s Younger Sister.  Wild Fucking Turkey was hitting himself in the head again in the kitchen.  Emperor Penguin had gone looking for Scorpion and Lamb’s Youngest Sister was tagging along.  And the Penguins were putting away their instruments and talking about leaving the AfterParty all together.

“Hold on guys,” I said, “can you do just one more song with me?”

“Eh,” they said. “This party’s kinduv over…”

“Springsteen.”

The Penguins eyes widened.

“You know any of his songs?” I asked.

They came closer and whispered to me.

“We love him,” they said.  “Everyone from Jersey does.  Except Emperor Penguin.”

“Why not?”

“We’ve never been able to figure it out.”

“Well, he’s not here right now,” I said.  “Do you think you can do ‘Thunder Road?’”

They simply nodded and got their instruments back out.  When they were ready I looked over at them and said “Alright, hit it!”

The Penguins didn’t have all the instruments they needed, but they knew the chords and rhythm and started nailing it right away. Then I came in and was high and powerful right from the start, and whatever audience was around started taking notice.

“Hey!” the Baby said.  “Is this Springsteen?  I love him cuz I’m from Jersey!”

It was adorable, and soon the other Realities started coming back in the living room.  Emperor Penguin came back and had a surprised look on his face, and Wolf was even able to lift himself up off the couch again.  I was just about to hit the high and powerful,“Sit tight, take cover, Thunder Road!” part, but then it started to happen.  One by one the spots on my throat rapidly went numb, and nothing happened when I vibrated air off them.

“No, not now, Dead Voice!” I thought to myself.

But there was nothing I could do.  I realized I’d been singing at the top of my lungs in the car for several days straight.  I could soon only speak the words in a low and unpowerful rasp that wasn’t even worth it. The Penguins looked up in confusion, and when I eventually just gave up in the middle of the song, they hadta give up, too.  No one in the audience got to Woo! or clap,or say where they hit the Thunder Roadfrom, and it was like we never pulled out of The-Town-Full-of-Losers at all.  Soon Realities started leaving again, and Wolf collapsed back down on the couch.

“Pfft,” Emperor Penguin said loudly so everyone could hear.  “The problem with Springsteen is that he tries too hard.  The music tries too hard, the words try too hard, the stageshow tries too hard, and the the themes especially try too hard.”

Then he started singing to Lamb’s Youngest Sister in a mock Springsteen voice.

Come on, baby, hop in my ride and all our dreams will come true,” he made up.

Lamb’s Youngest Sister started laughing hard, and the Emperor Penguin got on his knees in front of her and reached out his arms.

I just know we can make it to the Promised Land!” he made up.

Lamb’s Youngest Sister started laughing even harder.

Everything’s gonna be Alright, Baby!” he made up.

And then Lamb’s Youngest Sister laughed so hard she had to fall down and start hitting the floor over and over with her hand.

“There is no Promised Land,” Emperor Penguin said. “There’s nowhere to go.  Life sucks everywhere.  Just deal with it.”

I wanted to shout out “Damn you, you MeNotzie Penguin and your pffts!”  right at him, but The Dead Voice would only allow a ‘Dff’ to come out, and it wasn’t powerful enough to put anyone in their place.  I hadta just get outta The Throne in failure and try to get to Alone Reality as fast as possible.

7.13 – The MeToo Festival

Right away I told The Professor about MeTooing The Pizzas Boss.

“He’s not even a Reality Traveler,” I said. “He’d never heard of it before. He’s just some regular Reality who normally hides his deepest hopes and regrets.  He didn’t have to MeToo me, but I made him somehow.”

“Interesting,” The Professor said.  “So it was the song that led to the deeper MeToos.”

“Exactly!”

“You like songs a lot, don’t you?”

“They’re my favorite thing.”

“And I hear you have a very high and powerful voice.”

“The Voice Professor said it was a Gift from The Goddess of Music.”

“You know, Bluebird, every Traveler has a MeToo Speciality, meaning they MeToo particularly well via one thing.  You may very well be a MusicMan Traveler who MeToos via these old Radio songs.”

“Wow, maybe you’re right.”

“It’s time to put this to the test.  The big annual MeToo Festival is coming up, and many Reality Traveler Training School Alumni will be in attendance.  For entertainment we’ve assembled a band of Music Travelers.  I want you to sing this “Thunder Road” with them in front of everyone and try to MeToo us all.”

“I’ve never sung in a band before tho.”

“That’s great.”

“What if I suddenly get the Dead Voice and can’t MeToo anyone tho?”

Before he could speak I answered myself tho.

“I know,” I said. “It’ll be good to get my ass kicked.”

“No, Bluebird,” he said.  “There are times when you need to get your ass kicked, but this is not one of them.  This is one of those times when you need to kick some ass.”

Then I went home and dug out The Voice Professor’s Rules for Singing.  I still hated The Rules, and it seemed impossible to deliver pizzas without singing in the car, but I also knew they were the only way to make 100% sure I wouldn’t get The Dead Voice.  I started following them everyday, even tho they were boring and painful.

Then I hadta get together with the Reality Traveler band to rehearse.  They had a guitarist and a drummer and a keyboard player and a harmonica player and a saxophone player.  It was everything we needed to do the song right.  But I hadn’t been around many other Music Travelers and didn’t know if they would MeToo me.

“Are you guys alright with Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road?” I asked them.

“Oh my Gods,” the band said.  “Are you kidding?”

“Oh no, is it not advanced or Reality Traveler enough?  I know they play it on The Radio.”

“No, only MeNotzies hate songs just cuz they’re on The Radio.  We meant are you kidding, that’s one of our favorite songs.”

“So all Reality Travelers really do love Bruce Springsteen?”

“Yes.  He puts it all out on the line, and and goes for broke, and swings for the fences, and makes a stand, and plays for keeps, and beats the odds, and never surrenders, and makes it happen, and goes all the way, ya know?”

“Alright!  I love all those things about him,too.”

Then we started playing the song, and they knew how already, and they were all great at their parts, and when I started singing with them it actually sounded just like the real Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

When the MeToo Festival came around we felt ready. The Training School Auditorium was completely full of former and current Reality Traveler students.  First the band got up on stage and played their own songs.  They were all about Reality Travel, and they were good, but it still seemed hard for some Realities to MeToo songs they’d never heard before.

Then the Professor got up to the microphone.

“Attention please,” he said.  “Now I’d like to invite to the stage one of the Reality Travel Training School’s current students, The Bluebird.”

I liked the sound of it, and everyone clapped for me when I came out.  I stood up at the microphone, and they got quiet and waited for me to MeToo them.

“This one’s from the Great List of Old Songs,” I said to them, and then I told the band to “Hit it!”

The piano and harmonica started playing and there was no turning back.  They played thru the intro, and then it was time for me to come in and sing the first line…

“Screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves…”

At first I was cautious, low, and unpowerful. It wasn’t like Springsteen at all, cuz I was too afraid to go for broke, cuz I didn’t wanna be broke.”

But then I saw The Professor in the front row, nodding his head, and then some mysterious Reality in the back suddenly yelled out “Bruuuce!”

And then others in the crowd start following along. It gave me power, which I gave straight to my voice, and then I started nailing it.  The crowd started clapping to the beat, and you could hear some go “Woo!” and “I Lovethis song!”  And then they started MeTooing it.  One by one Realities in the audience start shouting out The Great List of towns they had to Hit the Thunder Road outta.

Philadelphia Suburbs (New Jersey)
Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania)
The Wilderness (Pennsylvania)
Chicago Suburbs
Baltimore Suburbs
The Middle-of-Nowhere (Massachusetts)
The Slums of L.A.
Arizona Desert Oasis
The Capital of America
California Agricultural City (Grapes)
Florida Future Adult Training Town
NewYorkCity
The far off and not as exciting as you’d think Realities of Paris
    France
The Badlands
Where-ThePlains-Doesn’t-Meet-TheMountains
Indiana Industrial City (Pollution)
Michigan Industrial City (Poison) Suburbs

“Ohio Industrial City (Rubber)Suburbs!” I added to the list.

And then I started going as high and powerful as I could go, and sweat started coming out of my forehead, and the Springsteen-style bandana I was wearing could absorb all of it.  I could feel every MeToo in the crowd turning into one big collective MeToo like a feeling from The Other World.  And it made me leap up and dive right into it and soar in flight right thru it. Finally I got to the last and best line and sang It’s a Town-Full-of-Losers and I’m pulling outta here to win with all the highness and power I ever had.

I used up all my energy and fell from the sky and collapsed on the stage, and when I looked up the crowd was standing on their feet and making a huge thunderous sound of clapping and Woos! and MeToos!  The Professor came up on stage and grabbed me and picked me up.

“Yes!” he said. “You just kicked ass.”

7.12 – The Emperor Penguin & The Penguins Show

The DrumPenguin got out his bongo drum, and the GuitarPenguin tuned up his guitar, but Emperor Penguin was slouched down on the couch even tho that was against The Rules of Singing.

“What are you doing?” Lamb’s Youngest Sister told him. “You’re not allowed to sit there.”

“Where else would I sit?” he said.

“Over there in the wheelchair,” she pointed.

“Why?”

“Cuz it’s The Throne.”

Then Emperor Penguin shrugged and got up and sat in it.

“Okay,” he said and pointed at Wolf, “this one’s for you from back in the HighSchool days.”

Then Emperor Penguin &The Penguins started playing “Smoke Two Joints,” popularized by Sublime.

“Smoke Two Joints” is a song about a Reality who likes Marijuana Perception so much that smoking one joint at once is not enough so they have to smoke two at once.

The band was actually nailing it. The BongoPenguin bopped away, and the GuitarPenguin hit the off beats of the reggae rhythm, and Emperor Penguin’s voice was just as high and powerful as Sublime’s singer Bradley Nowell.

But the living room audience was quiet, and no one was MeTooing.  Somehow despite coming to the party with him, it seemed The Penguins weren’t aware of the possible Marijuana MeNotzie.  For those who were, no one could seem like they were enjoying the song too much, and they were all staring at the Marijuana MeNotzie to see what he would do.

I wondered if you could throw a whole band in Perception Prison just for singing a song about that.  But The Baby didn’t throw anyone in jail, at least right away.  He didn’t cry or poop himself or anything either.  He just sat there with his thumb in his mouth, and didn’t seem to even realize what the song was about.

“Play another one,” Lamb’s Youngest Sister said.  “A good one this time, not a weird one.”

“Nah,” Emperor Penguin said.  “No one’s feeling it.”

Then he got up out of the wheelchair in failure.

“The problem is no one’s fucking drunk enough,” WildFuckingTurkey came back in and said.

Then he started going around the room trying to get everyone to take a swig from the jumbo bottle of Jack Daniels.  When he got to Lamb’s Sisters and The Baby they all shook their hands and said, “No thanks.”

WildFuckingTurkey wouldn’t let The Baby off the hook tho.

“You mean you’re a fucking Alcohol MeNotzie, too?” he said.

“I don’t know what that means,” The Baby said, “but your song made it seem like Alcohol causes a lot of problems.”

“Of course it causes fucking problems.  Problems are fucking fun!”

It almost seemed like WildFuckingTurkey was going to waddle-slap him in the Baby face.

“Not every Reality likes Alcohol,” Emperor Penguin butted in.  “Maybe he’s more of a Marijuana Reality.”

Everyone in the room gasped.  The Baby’s face got red, but he just shook his head and giggled.

“Speaking of which, Wolf,” Emperor Penguin said.  “Where is the weed?”

But Wolf by now was lying flat on his belly on the couch and could barely respond.

“I know that Scorpion is a total Marijuana Perception Addict.  Where is he, anyway?  Isn’t this his home?”

Wolf gave a weak little whimper.

“It’s about to happen,” he said.

“The Vertigo?” Lamb asked.

He nodded and then looked at me, and I knew it was time to save him.

“Alright,” I said, and then I took over The Throne.

7.11 – Wolf&EmperorPenguin

“Emperor Penguin,” Wolf said, “was my best friend in HighSchool.  We met in Health class.  I’d just started experimenting on my own with the basic Perceptions like Alcohol and Marijuana and discovering their many benefits.  Health class, however, was trying to teach us that any Perception was a dangerous and unhealthy mistake, which could only destroy your life.

‘Marijuana is a gateway to all the other drugs,’ the Health Teacher said.  ‘It may seem harmless, but before you know it, you’ll be dying of a heroin overdose.’

Everyone in the class was listening closely and taking notes so they could get a good grade on a test.  But there was one lone voice in the back of the class who went “pfft.” I looked back, and it was Emperor Penguin.  I didn’t know much about him, but he seemed cool and well dressed and wasn’t afraid to speak out in class.

‘That’s bullshit,’ he said, ‘I know lots of Realities who smoke Marijuana, and they don’t die.  They just think everything is greater for a little while.”

The Health Teacher wouldn’t listen to him and scolded him for swearing, but I was intrigued because I hadn’t met anyone else in person who’d had Perceptionist experiences yet.  I knew I had to approach him after class.

‘Oh yeah,’ he said, ‘they’re just trying to Train us to become Future Adults, and you can’t get a good Adult job or something if you don’t do the ‘right’ Perceptions.  I’m not going to be an Adult tho.  I’m a Reality Traveler.’

I’d never heard the words before that and asked him what it meant.

“It’s about calling people out on their bullshit so we can all MeToo over the truth,” he said and then explained the rest of what he knew.

He was young and misunderstood some things about Reality Travel, but he had the basics mostly down.  He also mentioned he was the lead singer of a band that Traveled to Realities all over Philadelphia Suburbs, both Jersey and Pennsylvania, to musically MeToo them, and he invited me to their next show.  I was scared because I’d only really Traveled to family and school Realities before, but there was something about the words “Reality Travel” that lured me in, and I decided I had to Get Out There for the first time.

Emperor Penguin picked me up and took us to the show in the close by but exciting Realities of DowntownPhiladelphia, where I’d rarely been before and never without my parents.  They were playing in some old shabby music club, and I got to hang out with the band backstage.  It was dingy and dark, and there was a pungent yet familiar smell in the air. When I met the band they were in a circle passing around the Marijuana Perception.

‘Is he cool?’ one of the band members asked Emperor Penguin about me.

‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘he’s a Reality Traveler like us.’

‘Cool,’ they said.

And then I got to join them, and as the Marijuana Perception went around I realized that it was making everything greater for all of us at the same time.

“So,” one of them asked me, “what do you MeToo via?”

I knew almost nothing about Reality Travel until that day, but somehow I knew the answer and responded right away.

‘I MeToo about Perceptions like this one,’ I said.

‘Cool,’ they said.

And that was the moment when I received The Calling.  Emperor Penguin and I went on many Travels after that and have been friends ever since.